Lake Michigan September slam
There are five species of salmon and trout in Lake Michigan. They are coho and king salmon, brown trout and steelhead trout, as well as Lake Michigan’s native trout, the lake trout. Catching all five in a given period of time is called getting the grand slam.
I used to belong to a fishing club that handed out patches to anglers who caught one of each species during a whole season. They handed out a lot of patches.
Occasionally, a lucky group of anglers score a grand slam on the same boat in one day. I’ve never heard of one individual catching all five species in one day but it’s probably happened, sometime, somewhere.
On my boat, I’ve had numerous “mini-slams” catching four of the five species on one outing but only once has the crew on my boat lucked into a fully fledged grand slam in one day. I say “luck” because there’s enough variability in the places to find each species, the lures they will bite and other details to get them on the line that charting a grand slam is more luck than skill.
While I was looking back at my fishing trips for the first half of September this year, I realized I’d achieved a September Slam! On Labor Day, my fishermen’s catch included the king salmon we were targeting, plus a coho salmon and a lake trout. The king was where it was supposed to be, just off the mouth of the river. Given the time of year, that’s not where the coho and laker should have been found. This highlights the fact you never know what could bite next – anytime, anyplace.
Several days later, in addition to the kings we were trying to catch, the second fish of the day was a brown trout. And not just any brown trout, but a 14- pound brown, one of the largest browns ever on my boat.
Yesterday, just as the sun was brightening the morning sky one of the rods came alive and 84-year-old birthday boy Stan Jones eventually subdued a spunky steelhead hooked in only 12 feet of water. I was happy for Stan and happy when it dawned on me the steelhead completed an unplanned quest to catch all five species in just a couple of late summer weeks: the September slam.